When Missy Sweitzer and her daughter found a set of lost keys at a softball game recently, they placed them on the owner's car with a note.
Then they saw a "Donate Life" sticker on the vehicle.
"We wrote another note that we noticed the sticker and we had a story and would love to hear hers, and left our name and number," said Sweitzer.
The story Sweitzer had to share was about her son Zachary, who was killed in a motor vehicle accident in 2008 by an under-the-influence driver.
But it does not end there.
Zachary, a 2007 Dallastown High School graduate,
registered as an organ donor when he got his driver's license.
"So when the possibility of making organ donations came up it was a no-brainer, we were just honoring Zach's wishes," Sweitzer said.
His heart, lungs, liver, pancreas and both of his kidneys went to different people, so six people received life-saving transplants from him, she said.
"He also donated bone and tissue, so numerous people received a gift from his donations," said Sweitzer.
Connection: Sweitzer, 45 and her husband, Mark, 46, live in Glen Rock with their two daughters -- Lauren, 21, and Emma, 20.
They had written to the recipients of Zach's organs through the Gift of Life program, but never got a response.
However, they did receive a response from the note they left on the stranger's car at the softball game.
It turned out that the woman had been a heart transplant recipient and she received her heart on the same day that Zach's organs had been donated.
"She was receiving her heart at the exact same time that his heart was being transplanted," Sweitzer said.
The woman did not receive Zach's heart; she has a different blood type.
But Sweitzer still considers the entire connection a "God thing."
"We're meeting to share stories and to figure out the whole thing that God has planned here for us, because obviously he brought us together for a reason," she said.
Donor Dash: The Sweitzer family continues to generously support Gift of Life.
For instance, each April since 2009, the Sweitzer family has taken buses full of people to Philadelphia for the Donor Dash, a fundraising race organized by the Gift of Life organ donation program.
Zach's friends and family members look forward to the annual dash, and they come up with a new T-shirt theme each year.
"We've done black shirts with yellow lettering because Zach was a Steelers fan, camo because he was a huge hunter, and green shirts with yellow because he was a farmer and loved John Deere," his mother said. "The jury is still out on next year."
'Zach's room': In 2010, the Sweitzers made a pledge to raise $25,000 to pay for an entire room to be built as part of the Gift of Life family house. It's a place for the families of organ recipients to stay while they wait for their family members to recover from the procedure.
They had up to three years to meet the goal but fulfilled it in 2010, Sweitzer said.
The Gift of Life Family House in Philadelphia has 30 rooms for transplant patients and their families and was completed in July 2011. The Sweitzers had up to three years to meet the goal but fulfilled it in 2010, Sweitzer said.
When the Sweitzer family attended the dedication of the home in May, they were able to see what they call "Zach's room."
"It is room 209, which is cool because he was 20 when he passed away and nine was his softball number," she said.
"They have covered just about everything down there," she said. "They provide a meal, an exercise room; you name it, they've thought of everything so that it is basically a home away from home."
-- Reach Chelsea Shank at 505-5432 or email@example.com